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Tigers roar back in ninth, 11th to beat Red Sox 13-12

Apr 8, 2012, 6:03 PM EDT

Miguel Cabrera Getty Images

Alex Avila got barely a sliver of a 2-2 curveball that would have ended the game. On the next pitch, he got a whole lot more of another curve, hitting a walkoff homer to give the Tigers a 13-12 victory over the Red Sox and a three-game sweep in Detroit.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox’s worst-case scenario for the rebuilt bullpen came true: Alfredo Aceves blew a 10-7 lead when Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and Mark Melancon surrendered the 12-10 lead in the 12th .

Aceves, who was named Boston’s closer after Andrew Bailey underwent thumb surgery, gave up hits to all three hitters he faced, though neither of the two singles were hit very hard. The second was handled by a diving Dustin Pedroia, but he couldn’t get the ball out of his glove in time to retire the runner at second.

Cabrera’s homer, though, was a no-doubter.

Melancon retired the first batter he faced before giving up singles to both Cabrera and Prince Fielder, with Fielder hitting a modest grounder right to where the third baseman would have been if the Red Sox hadn’t been shifted over. He came back to get Delmon Young to fly to center, but Avila ended it on one too many curves.

The Red Sox got stellar relief work from their other two pitchers. Vicente Padilla pitched four scoreless innings after Clay Buchholz gave up seven runs in his four innings of work. After the game was tied in the ninth, Franklin Morales came in and struck out three in two scoreless innings. It’s Aceves and Melancon who are supposed to be getting the most important outs, though, and after two appearances, Aceves has an infinite ERA, while Melancon is at 36.00.

The Tigers got five RBI from Cabrera in the game. He finished the series with eighth. Austin Jackson went 4-for-6 and is hitting .570. Avila’s homer was his second already.

The Red Sox wasted excellent offensive performances from surprise leadoff man Nick Punto (3-for-6 with 3 RBI) and Mike Aviles (3-for-5 with three RBI). Aviles, in particular, impressed. He took a high fastball from Max Scherzer into right-center for a two-run double in the second, singled in a run in the third, executed a flawless sac bunt and then aided the 11th-inning rally with a perfect hit-and-run single, advancing Cody Ross from first to third.

All that won’t mean a thing, though. The story tomorrow will be about how the rebuilt Red Sox bullpen is ill-equipped to handle late leads. The call for Daniel Bard to return to the pen will begin before he even makes his first start.

  1. scoregasmic - Apr 8, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Tigers are the best team in the league…period

    • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Apr 8, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      3 games into a 162 game season you could be right

    • buddaley - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      I am curious what you base that opinion on. This is a team with some fabulous stars, but also with some serious questions on defense and a pitching staff arguably not in the top 5 in the league. It also has a number of regulars who do not get on base all that much.

      Surely you are not resting your case on a 3 game series in which only one starter was outstanding, one got hurt and one was awful and in which their closer coughed up a lead.

      • kungfubillysims - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:32 PM

        Verlander by himself puts our pitching staff in the top 3. nice try though. best team in baseball by far.

      • baseballisboring - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:53 AM

        Wow…Tigers fans are turning into Sox/Yankees/Phillies fans already.

      • metzgerf - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:30 AM

        You make valid points about their pitching SEEMING to be disappointing in the series…..but when you look at it a little closer, it was actually pretty good. Look at game 2, for example. Their starter had to leave the game after only a few innings, leaving the rest of the game to be filled in by relievers, and in spots their not used to being in. Final score of that game: 10-0. That’s phenomenal. Game 3 was the only stinker. Can you tell me one team that had each starter pitch flawlessly in each game of their first series of the season? I didn’t think so.

    • zackd2 - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      I didn’t believe you, but then I saw “…period” and I was convinced

  2. nflfollower - Apr 8, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Brutal for sox fans. I like to think it was all Detroit’s lineup, but reality is bostons pen just isn’t that good either, and that certainly contributed. Gotta keep the ball down against a lineup like that.

  3. 13yrsmlbvet - Apr 8, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Karma will kill you, Lucchino, Cherington, O’Halloran and Hazen. Your team will not be a factor. Irrelevance will set in.

    • metzgerf - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:32 AM

      Jibberish.

  4. md23rewlz - Apr 8, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    When you score ten runs in nine innings, the game shouldn’t even have to come down to the bullpen. For all of the talk about Boston’s sketchy bullpen, I think the rotation is far more interesting/concerning. Or it should be for Boston fans, anyway. Lester is great, Beckett is solid (so long as he’s not injured, which who knows), Buccholz has to take a step forward, and Bard/Doubrant are complete question marks. You get above-average starting pitching with that offense, you’ll win games. If Beckett has an up and down year, the two new starters are medicore, Buccholz remains midling, etc, then that’s where the team will die. You can live with a mediocre bullpen. It’s annoying, and you’ll lose a few games because of it, but you can live with it so long as your starters give you depth. You can’t live with a mediocre rotation (because inevitably that means that mediocre bullpen will have to pitch more, which will mean more mediocrity all the way around!). I’m a Yankee fan, though, so thank you, Boston, for slightly easing the ringing cowbells of that Tampa sweep.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 8, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      Agreed. They’ll need to get another starter and send Bard back to the BP if this weekend is any indication of things to come, but 3 games is way too small a sample size to start freaking out about. 0-6 to start last year and they managed to get on track.

  5. crispybasil - Apr 8, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    It’ll be interesting if Bard pitches well through his first few starts while the bullpen keeps imploding.

  6. thom4msu - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Dayum. The Tigers lineup is tough. Next year VMart is back at DH full time. Mr Illich wants a wseries before he’s gone. Cool. As they say, you can’t take it with you.

  7. royalsfaninfargo - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Is one series enough for the vultures to start circling Bobby V? I think so.

    • aceshigh11 - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:35 PM

      Do you mean overly-panicky fans and the unhinged Boston sports media?

      Yeah, I think so. He’s certainly in jeopardy of losing his job, but the sports talk radio circuit is going to be out of control tomorrow AM.

      Reading the comments on the Boston Globe site is laugh out loud HILARIOUS. It’s like ’04 and ’07 never happened again.

      • aceshigh11 - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:36 PM

        I meant to say that Valentine is certainly NOT in danger of losing his job.

        How about that EDIT function?

  8. Gordon - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Tigers “roar” back…I see what you did there.

  9. drewzducks - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Why does it seem as though the Yankees are 0-3 and the Sox are 0-6 ?

  10. pisano - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    drewzducks…..Right now, they both suck. Bobby V has an excuse, no closer and suspect pitching, but Gerardi is resting guys in the third game of the year, and already talking about the aged left side of his infield that will be rested a lot during the season. This is why you don’t give out ten year contracts and give 3 to 4 year contract to 37 year old infielders. I’m just sayin.

    • drewzducks - Apr 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Totally agree. Concerned about Youk though and the long term effects of Crawford/Slackey deals but not as bad as Arod/Jeter at this stage in their careers.

  11. kungfubillysims - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    It’s hard to imagine the Tigers not winning the pennant this year. Plus the Lions are going to win the Super Bowl and the Wing are going to win the cup. Detroit sports own you!

  12. bleedgreen - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    How about it for not missing Papelbon, Boston fans?

  13. detroitcityryda - Apr 9, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    I told you boys these tiges are a team that comes around once every 30 years , they will demolish the AL because they have stars on pitching and hitting , a dream team .

  14. jmig320 - Apr 9, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    With that lineup & a guy like Verlander at the top of the rotation, they’ll be tough in a 5 or 7 game playoff series! As a fan of the AL Central, I shudder at how the rest of the division is going to hang with the Tigers this year.

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